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tonight on "nightline" -- barn burner. it's super tuesday. and the republicans are still at war with each other. and conservative rick santorum is giving the front-runner, mitt romney, a stunning run for the money. we'll tell you everything you need to know about the latest in this historic primary. and game on. who can beat obama? while the republicans vote, president obama tried to steal the show. >> now, i understand there are some political contests going on tonight. >> what did tonight's relates tell us about how a race against the president could go down? plus, palin versus hbo. it's the game-changing tv movie that has sarah palin fuming.
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and demanding this film about her swift rise be labeled fiction. we'll tell you why she's crying foul. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is a special edition of "nightline," super tuesday showdown. good evening. i'm terry moran. tonight, on super tuesday, a republican donnybrook out there. it's too close to call right now. mitt romney, rick santorum, they're in a dead heat in the critical fight for ohio. if santorum could pull off a win, he would turn the political terms on its head. he has won tennessee and oklahoma and north dakota. if he takes ohio, romney could be in jeopardy. he has won in virginia, massachusetts and vermont. but ohio is the one race that can change everything.
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and david muir is covering the romney campaign for us. so, david, mitt romney has got to be thinking, what have i got to do to shake this guy, santorum? it is really a test for him. >> reporter: yeah. and you really sense that within this campaign, terry. just 24 hours ago, one adviser told me, they really liked the numbers they were seeing. the momentum heading into super tuesday. particularly in ohio because they thought that a decisive win in ohio, would help them close the deal on this republican nomination. if they could start making the case, that the other candidates won't be able to catch up mathematically. but that argument becomes much more difficult, without the decisive victory that might still pull it out. as mitt romney gets on the stage behind me as he did a short time ago, tomorrow we will get up and start again. it was not the resounding message they were hoping to deliver, with all of the national cameras there trained on the stage. mitt romney was hoping to pit it back to the economy, back to the race against this president. but tomorrow, he still faces
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rick santorum. >> and in a real fight there, david. thanks very much. david muir mentioning the math there. the delicates are getting amassed. we're going to jonathan karl at santorum headquarters in ohio. jon, there's math. and then, there's the actual story that people are telling in their votes. and it's that that rick santorum wants to concentrate on. >> reporter: absolutely. and they are fired up here, terry. rick santorum finished speaking about two hours ago. he was walking out of here. but seeing how close things are in ohio, he held back. he held up, with his family, in a fitness room that the football team at this high school uses, to watch results come in. they're looking, winning in tennessee. winning in oklahoma. winning in north dakota. fighting to a virtual tie here in ohio. they see this as a situation where mitt romney has been badly damaged tonight. and they have emerged as the clear, conservative alternative to romney. as one of the top advisers to santorum was saying a few
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moments ago, we will go mano-y-mano with mitt romney. tomorrow, they go to three states. kansas, alabama, mississippi. all three vote over the next week. and santorum is in a position, potentially, to win all three of those states. there's a big math problem. but also real momentum and excitement here with the santorum campaign. >> he cast himself as the david against the wall street goliath in this case. jon karl, thanks very much for that. that is something you sense out on the campaign trail. the split in the republican party, between its beating conservative heart and the big part that wants to win. this is essentially what you're seeing in the republican party, out on the trail right now. what a brutal night for republicans. >> thank you. >> reporter: super tuesday, once again, turned the gop race upside down and threw the party
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into turmoil. >> pumping a little iron to get myself psyched for coming out here. >> reporter: once again, the pundits got it wrong. and once again, mitt romney fell short and had to put the best gloss on a bad night. >> night, we've taken one more step towards restoring the promise of tomorrow. tomorrow, we wake up and start again. >> reporter: there's a sense of desperation in the gop tonight. president obama seemed to be enjoying the political moment. stealing the spotlight by holding his first full press conference of the year, while republicans voted. >> i understand there's some political contests going on tonight. but i thought i'd start the day off by taking a few questions, which i'm sure will not be political in nature. >> what would you like to say to mr. romney? >> good luck tonight. >> no, really. >> really.
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>> i'm just settled on rick santorum because i think he's a man of principle. >> reporter: david and joan grube, have been together 48 years. what's the biggest difference since you guys got together? >> i think lack of morals. >> my personal big difference is, i appreciate our country. >> yeah. >> a lot more today, than i did when i was 25. >> reporter: that kind of passion fuels american conservatism. romney must tap into it. his style is cooler, more calculated. to his detractors, robotic. >> he's out of ideas. he's out of excuses. and in 2012, we're going to make sure he's out of office. >> reporter: and what do you hear from romney voters is totally different. they want victory.problem-solve
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them to it. >> i'm looking for change. i'm tired of obama. i'm looking for the next best thing. which appears to be at this point, mitt romney. >> reporter: why? >> i think the private sector experience, that he talked about. we need that. we don't need some federal guy again in office. >> reporter: but tonight, mitt romney lost in georgia, tennessee and oklahoma, bedrock conservative states. millions of republicans still prefer someone else. >> it's been a long road, getting to super tuesday. let me be honest. and my opponents have worked very hard. >> reporter: as he sets his sights on the fall and president obama, mitt romney needs to rise up and rally republicans. he's got a lot of work to do. >> there'll be good days. there'll be bad days. always long hours. never enough time to get everything done. but on november 6th, we're going to stand united. not only having won election. but having saved a future.
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>> he's got a long way to go. and there is a lot more in this campaign ahead. just ahead for us, abc's political analyst matt dowd tells us what tonight's results are going to mean for the election come fall. thanks for babysitting the kids, brittany. so how much do we owe you? that'll be $973.42. ya know, your rates and fees aren't exactly competitive. who do you think i am, quicken loans? [ spokesman ] when you refinance your mortgage with quicken loans, you'll find that our rates and fees are extremely competitive. because the last thing you want is to spend too much on your mortgage. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze. ♪
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>> announcer: this special edition of "nightline," super tuesday showdown, continues with terry moran. what a night for republicans, still at it at this hour. and i'm joined, now, by abc news political analyst, matt dowd. as you look at this night, a good night for mitt romney? if he pulls out ohio? bad night for mitt romney? >> i think in the end, campaigns are always about what happens today. and i think this is a bad night for mitt romney.
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if you had given him this night and say this is what's going to happen three days ago, or told everybody, that was a good night. as things went on, that did not meet expectations. as we talked about, he's got the math. the delegate math in his hands. he lost this moment. this was a moment he had, to begin to coalesce the party. to begin to unify the party. to say, i'm the one that's going to lead us against obama. he lost that argument tonight. he may be the nominee. he's the front-runner. but he's a very weakened front-runner after tonight. >> and the delegate math is essentially what the romney people are saying, that it's virtually impossible for rick santorum to get to the necessary number to win the nomination, because he'd have to run the table. so, they they he should give up, basically. >> i think what rick santorum's strategy is going to be, he's going to listen to that kind of thing. but his whole point will be, all i have to keep him, mitt romney, from getting to 1,144 delegates.
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if he can win the three coming up, and big states later on, like texas, he's going to start proving to the party and other people in the party, is do we want to dominate this very weak candidate in the fall against barack obama? that will be rick santorum's strategy. >> and he'll need some help with that. i was out in ohio. one of the things i noticed is that unlike old, previous contested primaries, there's not a lot of terrible, fierce, bitter antagonism between the camps. there's people that despise romney or santorum. it's as if romney doesn't inspire people to hate him. >> that's the big part of this. there's no connection to any gut or heart level with mitt romney. not even a negative or a positive way. that's been a problem through the entire seven months of the campaign process. this process has always been, mitt romney versus mitt romney. and will that mitt romney -- one mitt romney connect? and mitt romney lost tonight to
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mitt romney. that's what happened tonight. and rick santorum was the beneficiary of that campaign going on. >> i have to put you in the democrat white house for a moment. imaginarily. they're looking at this and what do they say? >> they're enjoying this process very much. they're saying the longer this goes on, the bloodier it gets, the more fierce it comes out. and the better for them. you've seen them in the course of this process. mitt romney's unfavorable rating has gone up 15 points. counter that in 2008, when there was a tough fight between barack obama and hillary clinton. barack obama's favorable rating went up 20 points in the course of that race. they hope this keeps going until june. mitt romney ultimately wins this in a delegate math sort of way, without inspiring anybody. and without bringing the country together or the republican party together. and they have a weak front-runner they unload on, come july. >> and rick santorum, one of the things he's trying to do is
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connect with blue collar voters, saying i am one of you. he's not. >> that's been successful. even in the places like michigan, where he lost, he won a lot of those voters. he won a lot of those voters in ohio tonight. he's winning those voters in the south, when he won the states in the south. those are the voters in the fall that's going to decide this election. it's the blue-collar, white-collar voters. those are voters, as of yet, have come to mitt romney. >> and rick santorum is still going to go after them over the next few weeks. >> he's going to go after him until june. >> we'll see a lot more of you, matt. thanks very much. up next, we turn to the hbo film that has sarah palin seeing red. [ male announcer ] if you believe the mayan calendar, on december 21st, polar shifts will reverse the earth's gravitational pull and hurtle us all into space, which would render retirement planning unnecessary. but say the sun rises on december 22nd and you still need to retire, td ameritrade's investment consultants
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well, while leaving the polls in alaska today, sarah palin said she's not ruling out a presidential bid in 2016. while she may not be running until then, she stopped focusing on the election. the 2008 election, that is. john berman explains why hbo's new film has ignited a fierce feud with the palin camp. >> reporter: the results are nearly in super tuesday 2012 is pretty much over. does that make you blue? filled with political postpartum depression? well, fear not. the 2012 primaries may be winding down. but you always have 2008 to look forward to.
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>> i'm not going to washington to seek their opinion. i'm going to washington to serve the great people of this country. >> reporter: that's right. we're looking at ads of the past week, a video from sarah palin's video operation. sarah palin, who isn't running for anything this election. but is very much focused on the last one. and what's more, she's going negative. the object of palin's ire -- the hbo film "game change," based on the book of the same name. a chronicle of the 2008 race, when john mccain, here depicted by ed harris, and his campaign team, woody harrelson, playing campaign chief steve schmidt here, decided to pluck sarah palin have alaska. >> who have we vetted? >> romney, crist, pawlenty. bloomberg. >> who can we win with? >> none of them. we need a game-changing pick. and none of these middle-aged
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white guys are game-changers. >> reporter: that led to this call to spalin. played by julianne moore. the problem is, sarah palin doesn't like how she's portrayed. >> the movie is based on a false narrative, as you can see in the trailer. >> reporter: palin has seen it. it's not even out yet. but she doesn't like it already. the trailer depicts her as uninformed on foreign policy. >> it wasn't my fault. i wasn't properly prepped. >> reporter: at times, overwhelmed by the riggers of the campaign. and other times, uncontrollable. famously going rogue. >> i am not your puppet. >> the sarah palin i know is professional, is smart, is a quick study, is intellectually curious. and the person portrayed in that movie is absolutely not. >> reporter: tim crawford is the treasurer for sarah palin's political committee. he helped put together the
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response video. why? >> hbo has made a movie that is a piece of fiction. it is not fact. >> it's their responsibility to make a movie that's accurate. and they made a movie that's accurate. >> reporter: john heilman, one of the authors of the book "game change," stands by his reporting. >> the film takes some dramatic license. but on the particulars in question, the movie's 100% accurate. >> reporter: this depicts the powerful moment she was introduced to america. >> senator, i am honored to be chosen as your running mate. >> sarah. sarah. >> reporter: it very well may be that sarah palin is something of a rorschach test. >> thank you. >> reporter: people see what they want to see in her, depending on what side of the political spectrum they come from. >> the movie shows areas in which she was an incredibly powerful, magnetic, human element in the mccain campaign, where she performed
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extraordinarily well under bad circumstances. it also shows the way in which she fell short. >> reporter: sarah palin makes clear she'll never like it and never will see it. >> we discussed this. and we decided that hollywood lies are hollywood lies. >> reporter: and while team palin and team "game change," might not agree on everything, they do agree on one thing. this brouhaha proves that in this day and age, politics, elections, last forever. >> the funny part about that, john, is it almost felt like that campaign never ended. >> it feels like, at times, a little bit weird to be arguing over long-ago fought battles. >> sarah palin. >> reporter: yes, old campaigns never die. they just go straight to video. i'm john berman, for "nightline," in new york. >> sarah palin. so, at this hour before we sign off, mitt romney has a slight lead in ohio, about 7,000 votes,

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Nightline
ABC March 6, 2012 11:35pm-12:00am EST

News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Bill Weir. (2012) New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Sarah Palin 13, Rick Santorum 12, Santorum 5, Ohio 5, Hbo 4, Obama 3, Tennessee 3, Oklahoma 3, Terry Moran 3, Geico 3, Allstate 3, Dennis 3, Palin 3, Barack Obama 2, Washington 2, North Dakota 2, Alaska 2, John Berman 2, Matt Dowd 2, Mitt Romney 2
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